By Alfred J. Plechner, D.V.M.

Did you ever wonder why your pet will eat its own stool or the stool of others? The answer is fairly simple. If there is not enough digestive enzymes being produced by the pancreas, the normal amount of ingested food is not going to be completely broken down, allowing undigested food to end up in the stool. The dog will realize that there is food in the stool, and eat it. If the dog eats their own stool, they have the digestive enzyme deficiency. If the dog eats another animals stool, that animal has the digestive enzyme deficiency.

Most dogs will eat cat feces, not because the cats may have a digestive enzyme deficiency which is possible, but rather from the fact, that the protein content is too high in cat foods, and the cats cannot digest some of too much high protein, which will end up in their stool. This is why dogs enjoy eating cat stool. Remember, if your dog has food sensitivities, and eats cat stool, the undigested food may be allergenic for your dog. It obviously is a very unpleasant "pastime" but could be very detrimental to a food sensitive dog. It also makes some of us wonder, if we eat too much at meal time, or feed our pet too much at meal time, will the normal amount of digestive enzyme be superseded by the quantity of food ingested? That amount of food in the stool will cause the dogs to ingest almost any cat stool.

Over the years, the usual recommendations include food additives that become bitter in the stool, or actually adding horrible condiments on to the stool while it is lies on the ground. It would be much better to add a plant based, digestive enzyme to each meal, to help with total breakdown and absorption of the nutrients.

If you have more than one dog, by adding vegetable dye to the food, and feeding separately, you will be able to determine who is doing what!

There are definitely other signs of an enzyme deficiency. Some of these signs are reduced growth. Often you may see an animal that has bowed wrists and is cow hocked, due to the lack of digestive enzymes, which allows for a "sludging affect" to occur with the fatty acids. This "sludging affect", not only ties up the fat soluble vitamins, but also stops calcium absorption. This lack of calcium uptake, may lead to slack ligamentation and the clinical signs you are seeing. Weight loss or lack of weight gain, plus voluminous stools, are further indications of this deficiency. For more information on this problem, you may want to check the Published Works page or consult with me.

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